It’s an obvious thing to say, but I’ll say it anyway: the Labour Party is in the midst of burgeoning civil war. Many figures on the left and right wings of the party would prefer to avoid it, at least for now. But it continues to rear its ugly head. The issue of air strikes in Syria is a great example: Corbyn telling MPs they need to clear whichever way they’ll vote with their CLPs, knowing full well this will result in decisions across the country to vote against the intervention. This is classic Corbynism, and by extension classic socialism: an avoidance of the charge of despotism by falling back on the dictatorship of a niche.
But what interests me today is the reporting of these scuffles that are taking place inside of Labour. The right of centre portions of the press have taken to gleefully reporting every big fallout between Corbyn and his own parliamentary party, every PLP meeting that is a horror show these days (i.e. all of them) with florid prose. That makes sense: it all makes a great story while demonstrating that Labour are unelectably divided at present.
All fine for them, but there is another angle to this all, one which in terms of public perception is Labour’s one ray of sunshine. All of the articles, every piece which demonstrates the divisions within the party, are a living and constantly updated record of the fact that many people within Labour did not go along with Corbyn’s folly and in fact, resisted it from day one. Short term, and being honest, medium term there is very little upside in all of this – again, Labour just look divided and incomprehensible. But long term it offers a way back for Labour if the sensible elements can manage to regain control; or at least a space in politics for a centre-left party if Labour permenantly implodes.
I bet you never thought it would be the Daily Telegraph that would be the saviour of the Labour Party. But it could one day be the case.